Lens Review: Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8

My new toy

One of my initial apprehensions to shift to Sony was their lack of ultrawide options. Personally, I am not fond of zoom lenses so I was never interested in the Sony 16-35mm f/4. In the past, I used to own the under-rated Nikon 20mm f/2.8 on my Nikon D700. Then when I shifted to Fuji X-E2, I used to own the fantastic Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8(effectively 18mm). That was my first Zeiss lens and I immediately realised its a special brand in terms of quality.

When Zeiss launched the Batis 18mm f2.8 as an extension to their Batis lens system( alongside Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 and 25mm f/2), I knew this was my next lens.

The only other ultrawide primes available for Sony E-mount happens to be Samyang 14mm f/2.8 and Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5

The Zeiss lens is extremely well made, feels fantastic in the hand and most importantly feels perfectly balanced on my Sony A7Rii. Weighing around 300g, it is the perfect travel companion. I’ve recently travelled across Paris, Amsterdam and Barcelona and had a lovely time shooting with the Batis.

Almost all the Batis lenses have a similar trademark finish to them, and you just feel at ease using it, knowing it will last you a lifetime.

The other great thing I love about pairing it with my A7Rii is the crop factor/range that I get. The lens doubles up as a 28mm equivalent focal length whenever you use it on the APS-C mode and I use it quite effectively while shooting street photography. With the A7R2’s 42mp sensor, I still get large files at APS-c mode and I love the flexibility it provides in a lot of situations.

(+) of the Zeiss Batis Lens:
1. Personally I am fond of 18-20mm. 14 or 15mm is just too wide.
2. The Voigtlander lens has only manual focussing. Although one might argue that such a wide lens hardly needs autofocussing capabilities, having autofocus is a definite plus. Also with f/2.8, you get almost 2 stops of added advantage especially because I shoot a lot at high ISO.
3. I did give the Samyang a bit of a thought but they are mostly known for manual focus, affordable lenses and I didnt want to take a gamble. Plus, its too wide at 14mm.
4. Distortion control. Ofcourse there is some distortion with the 18mm, but I absolutely adore the amount of distortion it adds to the photo: it is dramatic and never bothersome!

(-) of the Zeiss Batis lens:
1. The PRICE. It is quite expensive, especially if you consider the price of the other two lenses. They are almost half priced.


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